Microbes Close Up in Full Colour

Written by: Captain Skellett // November 6th, 2009 // Science Art

The smallest, but most prolific life around us is usually invisible to us. Most of us don’t stop to think about how cannon blastingly amazing it all is. These remarkable images are guaranteed to make you appreciate the smaller things in life.


From the wonderful Jennifer Frazer at The Artful Amoeba, may I present: Pollen from sunflower, morning glory, hollyhock, lily, primrose, and castor bean plants. 500X magnification; the bean-shaped pollen grain at lower left if 50 micrometers (μm) long. Believe it or not, these microbes are actually an entire plant — the male gametophyte.

Jennifer also alerted me to this interactive picture, a sliding scale that takes you from a coffee bean down to a human egg, bacteria, viruses and a single carbon atom. It’s even better than Honey I Shrunk the Kids or The Incredible Shrinking Man (remember the giant spider? SO SCARY! My skin crawls with the mere memory of it.) The program is REALLY pretty with fantastic graphics, it really makes you appreciate the relative size of microbes, and would be great if you had to do a project on cell sizes.

And finally, I give you one of my favourite bloggers, Lab Rat.

Scatalog - Coloured Poop

Yep – ’tis coloured poop! This design proposal was created for him during a science/design workshop dubbed E. chromi, to help them visualise the work they’ve been doing hunched over PCR plates creating colourful e-coli cultures. Seriously. Coloured bacteria. Lab Rat, this is like the coolest science project EVER! He blogged about it and his own ideas for scientific art here.

A big mug o’ grog to both them bloody brilliant bloggers Lab Rat and The Artful Amoeba, you prettify my RSS.

Captain Skellett

I be Captain Skellett. Me blog started in April 2009 when I was working full time and didn’t get a chance to talk science. Now I have changed jobs and talk science all the time, but that doesn’t stop me blogging. More About Captain Skellett   Google


One Response to “Microbes Close Up in Full Colour”

  1. Lab Rat says:

    Thank you! I am so glad you like the coloured bacteria, they were fun to work with, and it was very easy to pass the excitement on to other people (which is harder to do with black and white gel bands).

    I did have a talk with a fellow lab rat about the coloured moving bacteria. Problem is that bacteria are not the fastest movers in the world, so you wouldn’t get up to high speed animations, but you could do time-course snaps over the course of 24 hours of bacteria swarming across plates.

    I am *very* tempted to invade the swarming-bacteria lab in pathology over easter and ask to borrow some of their bacteria/plates to stick my colours in… I just have a horrible feeling someone might complain that I’m not getting funded for it, especially as I’d be using up their resources.

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